Wired’s Flash-Free App Lands on the iPad

Peter Kafka:

Meanwhile, Condé says that the real point of the exercise–to build a platform that lets them create a digital version of the magazine with the same tools they use to build the print edition–has been a success. Adobe’s (ADBE) idea was to create a single version that would run on all platforms, but Apple’s anti-Flash stance has made that a no-go. Instead, Condé will build an iPad-specific app, and one that works everywhere else–assuming people want to read this anywhere else.

So what exactly is the basis for Adobe’s antitrust complaint against Apple? They originally planned to use a Flash/AIR app for this. Because of Apple’s ban on such apps, Adobe wrote an application shell specifically for the iPad. Seems like a total win for iPad users — a better experience than if Apple had maintained an “anything goes” policy.

As for the Wired app itself. It’s big — over 500 MB, and it costs $4.99. That seems high to me. Psychologically, I think digital-only content needs to cost a little less than the physical version. It feels good, and the navigation design is thoughtful and interesting. They’re using both axes for pagination — you flip left-to-right to go between stories, and you go up-and-down to go through the pages of a story. One problem is that in many cases, especially with multi-page ads, there’s no visual clue to tell you when there are more pages underneath the current one.

I enjoyed the feature-length cover story on Pixar and Toy Story 3, but the first two-thirds or so of the issue — with all the nugget-length content — made me feel more like I was swiping than reading. Bottom line: I give it a thumbs up. It feels like a true peer to the print version of Wired, not an afterthought or by-product.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010